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Mindfulness

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Mindfulness is a technique to assist you to live in the present moment, rather than regretting what may have happened in the pass or worrying about future events. Being present or attentive during a conversation, and or an activity can enhance the beauty and joy of the moment without judgment.

Meditation, yoga, dance or just sitting still are just a few activities that can assist you to become more mindful to the present moment. The goal is to connect to your present surroundings and acknowledge your emotions and feelings without labeling them as good or bad.

When was the last time you had a conversation with someone and you gave them your complete attention without engaging in another activity or thought during the conversation? We all have been programed to be ready with a response. It is very rare that we give our full attention to anything, even a short conversation.

It will take practice, but try to give your full attention to someone you are having a conversation with and notice how different it feels to be fully engaged and focused on the person you are listening to. This practice is not as easy as it seems.

There are structured mindfulness practices available to assist you in becoming more mindful. Check out the link below to listen to a few Mindful Moments, presented by Saybrook University to help you restore your well being during the day, and practice mindfulness.

References

Mindful Moments. https://www.saybrook.edu/mindfulness-moments/

Mindfulness, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/mindfulness

Featured

World Mental Health Day

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It was World Mental Health Day, on October 10, 2021. Personally, I think we need a whole month to reset. There is so much going on, and if you do not take time to unplug you may feel over whelmed and depressed.

There are a few things you can do to ensure you stay balanced, and well. Get enough sleep, without adequate sleep your body can not regenerate, and you are cranky.

Enjoy nature, and go for a walk, or ride your bike.

Interact with others, some of us have been isolated for so long that we need some physical interaction with other adults. Don’t forget to wear your mask, if you have not been vaccinated.

Find an activity or craft that you enjoy. I exercise, and it is a great way to increase your stamina and well being. I have a friend who builds bird houses, and another who loves to work in the garden.

Take a drive and enjoy the scenery. I have been taking short week-end trips to re-energize, it will change your outlook. Hint: leave your laptop at home.

If these things do not work, you may need to talk to a professional, especially if you have had suicidal thoughts, or feeling depressed for extended periods.

Therapist are now online. Here are a few links for your review. I can not validate the services but these links can help you get you started. https://www.betterhelp.com/get-started/

https://www.top10.com/online-therapy

Stay well and unplug, your mental health depends on it!

The Nation has an Obesity Problem…

Obesity is considered an epidemic in this country. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 41.9% of Americans were obese in 2017 (CDC, 2022). The numbers of obese individuals has probably increased to greater than 50% in 2023, but no current data is available.

According to the Roberts Woods Johnson (2023) data, obesity is the result of several factors such as overeating, lack of physical activity, genetics, culture, and metabolism. Personally, I do not want to subscribe to the idea of genetics and metabolism when diet consumption is probably a result of culture, habit and the type of food consumed. There are food deserts all across the United States in low income neighborhoods. Sadly, it is cheaper to buy fast food then a head of lettuce and a tomato.

Americans consume to much fast food, that is full of sugar and fat. As a result we have an unhealthy population. Sugar is added to many foods as a filler. Sugar is addicting (Healthline, 2022). You will find sugar is added to most foods to enhance the taste, thus making it difficult to remove from your diet.

Obesity is linked to many health issues that can change the quality of your life, or cause death, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and stroke (CDC, 2022).

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Here are the 10 states with the highest rates of obesity:

  1. Mississippi – 40.80%
  2. West Virginia – 39.70%
  3. Arkansas – 37.40%
  4. Oklahoma – 36.80%
  5. Kentucky – 36.50%
  6. Tennessee – 36.50%
  7. Alabama – 36.10%
  8. Michigan – 36.00%
  9. Louisiana – 35.90%
  10. South Carolina – 35.40%

Go to the link below to find your state ranking. It is your personal responsibility to take care of your health and well being. You can start by changing one thing in your diet and see if it makes a difference. Try giving up soda, or french fries, and stop supersizing your food, and drink more water. Your body will appreciate it and you will feel better.

References:

Adult Obesity Facts/Overweight. (2022). https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

Healthline. (2022). https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/experts-is-sugar-addictive-drug

Most Obese States in 2023. https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/most-obese-states. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Copyright © 2004-2023

Martin Luther King

The establishment of the Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) federal holiday was passed in 1983. It was celebrated nationally on the 3rd Monday of January in 1986. The legislation for this holiday was first introduced in 1968 and blocked in Congress. MLK believed in nonviolence and pushed for civil rights for African Americans during the 1960s. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968, at the age of 39 years old.

African American men were allowed to vote in 1870. However, African American women were not. During that time, many African American men were elected to Congress. The Southern States implemented rules in the 1890’s to discourage them from voting and to ensue they would not participate in ruling this country.

Getty Images
King at the age of 24

(Getty Images)

Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination in public spaces and employment. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was also passed, to include all Americans in the voting process. Consequently, The Voting Rights Act had been extended by Congress in 1970, 1975, and 1982 to address all irregularities related to voting and federal oversight. However, in 2013, the Supreme Court declared the key provisions in the act that involved federal oversight of voting rules in nine states (archives.gov/milestone-document/15th-amendment) was unconstitutional and not needed. Most recently, the 117th Congress failed to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act in 2021. The bill would have addressed voter registration, access and integrity, security, redistricting, and campaign finance, as well as establishing the Election Day as a federal holiday (www.congressDC.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/5746).

As you celebrate the day, think about the reason for the holiday. Think about what you can personally do to encourage your congressional representative to support the passage of the voting rights bill when it comes up again for a vote in Congress.

Below of some of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther King.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

“A man can not ride your back if it’s not bent.”

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

January is the month to raise awareness about human trafficking. Wear blue on January 11, 2023 to bring attention to sexual trafficking and educate yourself and others about this hidden crime. Psychological warfare, physical force, and violence are used to intimidate others to remain a captive to those who promote sexual trafficking.

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Human trafficking affects both young and old, regardless of economics, race, gender or age. It maybe happening in your neighbor, so educate yourself and increase your awareness.

Some of the indicators of human trafficking include: Homes with numerous people being picked up and dropped off at the same time. You may notice the lights are on at a workplace at strange times. Individuals who seem scared, confused or have untreated injuries, and avoid eye contact or conversation with others. All modes of communication are controlled, that include mail, phones, and the inability to speak to others due to fear. Bruises or other physical and or psychological trauma may also be present.

Be aware, if you see something, notify authorities. You maybe saving someones life.

References

Hope for Justice.(2023). https://hopeforjustice.org/spot-the signs/

#WearBlueDay-January 11

BlueCampaign.(2023).www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign.

Happy New Year!

This is the time many individuals will write audacious goals for the up coming year, that include increasing their exercise and losing weight. If you go to the gym regularly you will notice how crowded it is during the month of January and February. Sadly, by March, many will have resumed old habits and have decided the exercise routine is too time consuming or created some other excuse not to follow through.

To change a behavior, make realistic goals for yourself. Exercising is a lifestyle change, so be easy on yourself. Consistency is the key. Commit to twice a week and once you have completed that goal, increase your exercise frequency to 3 to 4 times per week. It actually takes 66 days to create a habit according to the experts (https://jamesclear.com/new-habit#). So with that said, find an activity that you enjoy, so that you will look forward to some form of exercise or going to the gym.

Get an accountability partner, so you can help each other stay on track.

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Put a picture of the goal in a conspicuous place so you can see it daily. I suggest placing a picture of yourself at your ideal weight on the bathroom mirror or on the refrigerator.

Meditate on the results daily. See yourself and feel what it feels like to achieve the goal. Celebrate your small wins to keep yourself motivated. Make this the year that you follow through and achieve your goal!

You can do it!

Happy Holidays!

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I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. This is the time to make memories with your love ones As time moves on, you will realize the memories created are much more valuable than the physical items we acquire.

Time is also precious and as your family ages and matures the time you spend with them should be cherished. You do not want to look back with regret.

So take this time and enjoy your family and let go of any issues that may have come between you.

Happy Holidays!!!

Tis the Season….

Thanksgiving is gone and the Christmas season is officially upon us. This is the time of the year, that so much good cheer is extended to others with no expectation of anything in return. Why can’t this happen all year long? Mankind still has not learned to love and respect others, especially those who are different. The jealous and self righteousness of others is very hypocritical.

Caring for each other should extend all year long, not just during the Christmas holiday season. I hope you take time to see beyond what you think you see, when you look at others. Everyone wants to be recognized, seen and appreciated. If you are experiencing sadness and self pity during this time, seek out help and do something for someone else, it will put your life in perspective.

This is the season that we promote caring and joy. Make it your mission to reach out to those in your circle. They maybe calling out for help and you have not been listening or observing. Seek help on their behalf if needed. We are our brothers keeper.

Have a wonderful holiday season.

Enjoy

American Diabetes Month

November was American diabetes month, and a good time to review your lab with your provider to see if you are at risk for diabetes. During the holiday season the amount of sweets and unhealthy foods will be more available and tempting but please use some restraint, so you can remain healthy and well.

The lab test for diabetes requires blood to be drawn, to measure your average blood sugar over a three month period. This test is known as hemoglobin A1C, and will assist your physician to determine your risk for developing diabetes. If the A1C value is greater than 5.7 and less than 6.4 you are at risk for developing diabetes. Those with a A1C value greater than 6.5 will be treated as a diabetic, and be placed on medication.

Risk factors for developing diabetes, include : 1. A family history or 2. A women who may have developed diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or given birth to a baby that was over 9 pounds, or 3. Being over weight especially with a large girth (stomach), and inactive 4. High blood pressure, and or high cholesterol can be precursors to diabetes in conjunction with the elements above.

A small lifestyle change can make a big difference. Make water your drink of choice and increase your physical exercise and eat more fruits and vegetables. Maintain a healthy weight, minimize stress, get enough sleep, stop smoking, and reducing your alcohol intake can make a big difference. Alcohol adds additional sugar to your diet.

There are SERIOUS consequences that can occur related to diabetes, if you do not heed to the warning. This may include dialysis, amputation, blindness and or possible stroke or heart attack. Currently diabetes is a world wide epidemic.

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References:

Diabetes. (2022).https://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/healthprotection/ncd/diabetes.html

Diabetic Risk Factors. (2022). https://heart.org/en/health-topics/diabetes/understand-your-risk-for-diabetes

Top 10 Risk Factors. (2022). https://rocketfacts.com/top-10-risk-factors-for-diabetes/?utm_content=3869801864&utm_source=bing-o&utm_campaign=399607003&gclid=23eac4ee6eef1214823ca7909d66d6ce&msclkid=23eac4ee6eef1214823ca7909d66d6ce

Breast Cancer Awareness

October is breast cancer awareness month. Self breast exams are essential because most cancers are found by women during bathing. It is essential that you know what is normal for you and know how to recognize abnormal signs and symptoms (Cancer Center, 2022).

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Symptoms that should be followed up include the following: A lump, mass or change in the feel or position of the breast are among the most common symptoms of breast cancer. Swelling, redness or inflammation Changes in the nipple or nipple discharge or a change in color Pain in the breast Itchy or irritated breasts and or peeling or flaky skin.

It’s important to alert your doctor or health care provider as soon as you experience symptoms. Prevention includes clinical breast exam, self breast exam and mammograms. Early screening and prevention is key.

References

Cancer Center of America, (2022). Learn more about symptoms of breast cancer

MD Anderson. (2022). Mammograms & Breast Exams. https://www.mdanderson.org/prevention-screening/get-screened/breast-cancer-screening.html

Resilience…..

Resilience, the ability to bounce back after adversity or stress in your life. How resilient are you? That is a million dollar question. We all have had some adversity that has caused us to fall back and re-exam our circumstances. Resilience is a skill that can be developed over time. The question becomes how will you over come and will you let the circumstance keep you from your goal.

Resistance may manifest in several stages before you are able to move to the next level. Stress may cause illness, depression or feelings of sadness and rejection but once the shock wears off you have several choices. Of course, it depends on what has caused the stress, and this will is imperative as you evaluate your choices moving forward. If you decide to give up the goal, change the goal or move forward with a different strategy, be deliberate about your choice to avoid a half hearten recovery.

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To be resilient, one must be persistent and have tenacity to move forward, especially when obstacles continue to get in your way and your goal looks out of reach. It is easy to get discouraged, especially when the obstacles seen to be continual and the stress is affecting your health and well being. Managing your mental attitude becomes key to your success.

Stay persistent. Resilience may require you to reinvent yourself to achieve your goal with some modification. It is your life, be true to yourself and do not be deterred. Developing resilience can be the key to you are living deliberately and on purpose.
Review the articles below to assist you with developing resistance, utilizing the five pillars of resilience, self awareness, mindfulness, self care, positive relationships and purpose.

Reference

J. Ahlschlager (2020). Engage in the 5 Pillars of Resilience During Tough Times, https://insights.vitalworklife.com/engage-in-the-5-pillars-of-resilience-during-tough-times

Psychology Today, Resilience, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/resilience

Ethics and Integrity

It appears that ethics and integrity are no longer important in the fabric of the Unites States of America. Some individuals feel empowered to say and do anything to others without consequences. This includes law enforcement, the military and judges who appear to have no ethics and the public are left feeling like they have no recourse. It is not to say that it is getting worse, or that all individuals in these groups are bad people, but social media has put this bad behavior into light. These days corporations have been deemed to be “a person” by the supreme court thus giving them more rights than you and I have.

The global majority have suffered the brunt of discourse from these groups of individuals for centuries but with video this bad behavior is on instant display. They try to deny the truth and we just shake our head and wonder what will happen next.

The military and law enforcement seem to be moving down another path, many of them have accepted lies by political figures and are not using their sense of right and wrong as a compass. So when we say de-fund the police it is a whole lot deeper than you can imagine. They do not need tanks and chemical weapons to tame the public. How about a little respect for one another.

If your physician told you a lie and kept the truth from you and laws were passed to keep him from discussing the truth, one would be quite upset and wonder what benefit is that serving.

Unethical behavior has seeped into many parts of America life. It is seems that it is getting difficult to get people to do a honest days work without them trying scam consumers.

As a result, all this negativity can put a toll on those who unwillingly collide with these systems. Please take heed and remember to look at the bright side of humanity and expect the best even when you are handed lemons. Give yourself a few minutes to complain and come up with a plan to remedy the issue and move on. Life is short and you have to let go of the negativity and find joy and love for you and yours.

Peace….

Joy & Happiness

Are you experiencing enough joy in your life? The concept is so abstract that we forget we are responsible for our own joy and happiness. Many believe and want others to be responsible for our happiness.

Happiness and joy are self imposed and once you understand this concept, life gets easier and you have no unrealistic expectations for others.


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Children laugh and enjoy themselves daily. When was the last time you experienced joy?

Do something everyday that you enjoy. This is easier said than done when you have so many responsibilities to manage. This is especially true for the majority of women, who put themselves last. However, you should find something that brings you joy to ensure you do not miss the small miracles meant for you. It maybe a small gesture like eating a piece of chocolate or having a cup of coffee without being interrupted. This can be quite helpful during a stressful day.

Find your joy!

Are You Suffering from Insomnia?

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Are you having difficulty sleeping? It seems to be a common problem. I find if I nap during the day, it affects my ability to fall asleep and I am up all night. Insomnia can be exhibited in many forms, that includes difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, early morning awakening or having refreshing sleep (Ni, 2008). There are other issues that may contribute to insomnia including pregnancy, menopause and sleep apnea, worry, too much caffeine, pain and or stress.

Sleep is important for the body to rest and regenerate. Insomnia can contribute to memory loss, lack of concentration and depression, which in turn can effect your ability to be effective at work (Ni, 2008). Insomnia can increase the risk of developing other chronic health issues related to stress, anxiety, heart disease, pain, depression and alcohol abuse.

The following tips may assist you with combating insomnia: Reduce your caffeine intake by avoiding coffee, soft drinks and chocolate or foods with MSG. Mediate before bed, or journal to document your thoughts to reduce anxiety and stress. Create a routine, by going to bed the same time every night. Exercise regularly but not before bed. Take a warm bath or shower. Eat yogurt one hour before bedtime it contains tryptophan that aids in sleep. Stay off the phone and computer prior to bedtime, this can stimulate you and cause insomnia.

Good luck, insomnia can be managed if you are diligent with your intention to have a good night sleep.

References

Ni,M. (2008) Secrets of Self-Healing. Insomnia, Penguin Group, New York, New York.

Insomnia Myths and facts (2022). Wed MD. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/ss/slideshow-avoid-before-bed

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